I Ate It (So You Don’t Have To!): Arby’s All-American RoastBurger

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Survey Says: American’s are bored with burgers.

The quick service industry’s forgotten step-child, Arby’s, commissioned a survey and found that American’s are bored with fast food burgers.  They are too greasy (55% agreed), too dry (40%) and the quality of meat is poor (45%).

Enter “RoastBurgers,” the newest sandwich additions to the Arby’s menu.

via QSR Magazine

“Roastburgers offer a tasty new way for burger lovers to satisfy their cravings while avoiding burger boredom,” says Steve Davis, Arby’s Chief Marketing Officer. “

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So basically what Arby’s has done is swapped out ho-hum ground beef for the taste sensation that is their trademark roast beef.

The results…well…ummm, how do I say this…not as bad as I thought it would be.

The All-American Roast Burger I had for lunch, and it’s relatives the Bacon & Bleu Cheese and Bacon & Cheddar RoastBurgers, clearly benefit from some super-secret chemistry straight out of the flavor labs of New Jersey, because darnit…the RoastBurger actually tastes like a fast food hamburger.  Again, I am left completely frustrated by how easily my taste buds can be tricked by science, but I guess that is the point with modern day fast food.  The Oxford University Museum of Natural History bails me out a little here noting that the taste buds are easily tricked (in general, not specifically by this sandwich, but someone should definitely take this back into a lab and experiment).

More from an Arby’s Press Release:

All-American Roastburger – Features Arby’s thinly sliced, oven-roasted roast beef with fresh lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup, mustard, and a secret sauce served on a specialty roll

Here is the skinny on this “burger.”  Easily 1/4 lb of roast beef which because of its shape/folding meant the sandwich stands pretty tall and seems substantial.  Any hint of that special sauce, which someone on these here Interwebs actually compared to IN-N-OUT‘s secret sauce (?), was completely overpowered by the beef flavorings sprinkled on the sandwich (the Arby’s website even features an eerie animation showing the beef fleck coating process).  Ketchup and mustard, the tried and true burger toppings, along with lettuce, tomato (very red – not always the case at fast food joints), raw onion and pickle were all present.   Even the bun was better than your average fast food vessel.  I’d compare it (favorably) to a BK Whopper.

That said, the whole concept just seems wrong to me.  A roast beef sandwich shouldn’t have to aspire to be anything more than a roast beef sandwich and a burger by its nature has no equal in the world of meat-on-bun concoctions.  But of course this is all about marketing and market share and so Arby’s, known as the #2 franchise sandwich chain in the country (behind Subway), has dipped their toes in the ultra-lucrative burger pool in launching this line.  Interestingly, they could potentially steal market share from their sister restaurant, Wendy’s, by offering a burger experience which caters to a more high-end fast food eater.

RoastBurger Pros:

  • Close your eyes and it tastes like a pretty darn good fast food burger
  • Really red tomato, crispy lettuce and tasty raw onions – all fine toppings which would be well placed on a burger
  • Price – Arby’s is offering a free RoastBurger (with the purchase of a drink) via a coupon on their website (exp. 2/9/09)

Cons:

  • Mouth-feel: The meat just disappears in your mouth, like cotton candy or those weird Japanese shrimp chips.
  • The whole “better living through chemistry” vibe you get when seeing the flavor flecks and tasting the overpowering beefiness of this sandwich.
Stats:
420 calories
170 calories from fat
18g of fat
6g of saturated fat
1g of trans fat (oddly present here…Arby’s was the first chain to introduce trans-fat free fries)
40mg of cholesterol
1390mg sodium
46g carbs
2g fiber
15% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C (!)

Bonus feature:  Recipe to make your own Jamocha Shakes…previously the only reason anyone went to Arby’s.

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One thought on “I Ate It (So You Don’t Have To!): Arby’s All-American RoastBurger

  1. Pingback: Burger News You Can’t Use: Checker’s Raises The Roast Beef Bar on Arby’s « burgatory

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